Series review: ‘She’ follows a would-be Mata Hari in Mumbai’s murkiness

“She” is a seven-episode series. (YouTube)
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Updated 02 April 2020

Series review: ‘She’ follows a would-be Mata Hari in Mumbai’s murkiness

  • Created by Imtiaz Ali, “She” is a drama in which a policewoman is picked to bust a huge drug cartel in Mumbai

CHENNAI: Mata Hari was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War I, but she has transcended beyond that to symbolize the entire concept of a femme fatale. There are countless films based on this concept and that’s where Netflix’s “She,” directed by Arif Ali, loses a few points on the originality scoreboard.




Mata Hari was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War I. (YouTube)

On top of that, the writing in the seven-episode series is patchy. Created by Imtiaz Ali, “She” is a drama in which a policewoman is picked to bust a huge drug cartel in Mumbai. Cliched in several ways, especially where gender dynamics are at work (with men in uniform looking down on their female counterparts), she takes a while to grab the viewer’s attention with a distinct lack of energy. And despite Imtiaz Ali having collaborated with writer Divya Johri, the male gaze is unwarranted and disturbing.




“She” is created by Imtiaz Ali. (YouTube)

Bhumi Pardesi (played by Aaditi Pohankar) catches the eye of her boss, Jason Fernandez (Vishwas Kini), who recruits her to infiltrate the ranks of the top drug dealers in Mumbai and she is asked to pose as a prostitute. Living in a slum with her perennially ill mother and a wayward younger sister, Bhumi is the sole bread winner. With a divorce pending in court – and the man making the most shocking demands in order to agree to the divorce, Bhumi’s life is nothing short of hell. 




“She” directed by Arif Ali. (YouTube)

Sadly, even before she is ready, Bhumi is pushed into the dangerous game. Her brief? Cosy up to Sasya (Vijay Varma), the trusted lieutenant of the kingpin in order to get to the bottom of the crime syndicate. Bhumi hates walking the streets at night, but she does not want to go back to her old life in the police department where she is constantly humiliated and harassed.

Pohankar does her best to keep the series alive and her metamorphosis from a nervous wreck into the epitome of courage is quite interesting, but somehow the shoddy writing wipes away at her sheen. Varma essays a cocky henchman and does provide a bit of a laugh and liveliness.

Hopefully, season two of “She” may address these issues.


Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim undergoes 6-hour surgery after Beirut explosion 

Updated 28 min 51 sec ago

Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim undergoes 6-hour surgery after Beirut explosion 

DUBAI: Lebanese actress Nadine Nassib Njeim revealed on Instagram that she underwent a six-hour surgery after a massive explosion ripped through Beirut on Tuesday, killing over 100 people and injuring thousands. 

“Half my face and my body were covered in blood,” said Njeim, who lives close to the port area where the explosion happened, captioning a video – shot by someone else – of her damaged apartment.

“I thank God first, who saved my life. The explosion was close, and the scenes you see do not do it justice. If you visit the house and see the blood everywhere, you would be surprised as to how we are still alive,” the star, who has two children, wrote captioning the clip that shows shattered glass, cracked walls and broken furniture strewn all over her living room.

According to her post, the star went down 22 floors, barefoot and covered in blood and sought help from a man who was in his car. 

“He dropped me to the nearest hospital, but they refused to admit me because they were packed with wounded people,” she said. “He dropped me to another hospital where they immediately took me in and I underwent a six-hour operation.” 

The 36-year-old actress said her children were not home and are “fine and safe.”

Multiple Lebanese celebrities have also taken to social media to share videos of their destroyed homes. 

Singer Haifa Wehbe shared, on her Instagram Stories, clips of the destruction that ravaged her home. “We are all okay thank God. My house is next to the explosion,” she wrote to her followers before asking them to keep her house helper, who got injured in her head and eyes, in their prayers.

Clips circulated on social media of Lebanese fashion designer Dalida Ayach, who is also the wife of singer Ramy Ayach, in the hospital being treated for her injuries. 

Singer Elissa, who recently released a new album, took to Twitter to share pictures of the aftermath of the explosion. “It affected the metals and the properties this time, but who will bring back the dead? Who will bring back Beirut?” the star wrote.

Singer Ragheb Alama’s house also got destroyed, but luckily, he and his family were on a trip outside the city.

The ateliers of renowned Lebanese designers have also been ruined, including Maison Rabih Kayrouz and Ralph Masri’s flagship stores.

Taking to his Stories, Kayrouz shared videos of the damage caused by the explosion to his atelier. “Our courageous team trying to save… what could be saved!” the designer captioned one clip of one of the atelier workers pulling out clothing from the debris.